Thu, 31 May 2012
Saudi military officer assaulted in Pakistan

Timeline  Refresh

A Saudi Arabian military officerwas assaulted by security personnel after he refused to pass through a walk-through gate at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi on Thursday.

Personnel of the Airport Security Force assaulted the Saudi officer after a heated exchange. 

TV news channels reported that problems began when Saudi official Shakeri Saeed Al-Shehri refused to pass through a walk-through gate. The ASF personnel sent him back and the Saudi national reportedly pushed an ASF official.

Several ASF personnel then assaulted the Saudi national.
The Rajasthan high court on Thursday granted bail to two policemen, arrested for their alleged involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Dara Singh in 2006. 

Single judge bench of Justice R S Rathore granted bail to ASI Surendra Singh and the driver of police vehicle used in the encounter, Sardar Singh.
CNN reports: A suicide bomber attacked a district police office in southern Afghanistan on Thursday morning, killing four police officers and one civilian and wounding six others, the Kandahar governor's office said.

Read the full story here
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday described the Bharat Bandh called by the NDA and Leftparties to protest petrol price hike as a "total failure" in Delhi and "thanked" people of the city for not responding to it.

The chief minister, speaking in the Delhi Assembly, came down heavily on the BJP, accusing it of forcibly blockingroads and making the traders shut their shops in various areas of the city.
The Central Vigilance Commission has referred to CBI the case of alleged irregularities inutilisation of coal blocks by some private companies.

CBI officials, who are tight lipped about the issue,reportedly held a meeting today in which the issue was discussed in detail, sources said.

The meeting, which was chaired by the CBI chief,discussed all aspects of the reference received from thevigilance panel and also which branch should handle the probe, they said.
A lawyer has approached a local court in New Delhi with a criminal complaint against Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan accusing him of "abusing and defaming" PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh.

Lawyer D D Sharma filed the complaint in the court ofAdditional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Patiala House.
A lawyer has approached a local court in New Delhi with a criminal complaint against Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan accusing him of "abusing and defaming" PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh.

Lawyer D D Sharma filed the complaint in the court ofAdditional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Patiala House.
The death sentence of four prisoners, including a man convicted for rape and murder of a five-year-old girl, has been commuted to life imprisonment by the President.

Three mercy petitions of four condemned prisoners namely Om Prakash of Uttarakhand, Satish of Uttar Pradesh and Karan Singh and Kunwar Bahadur Singh of Uttar Pradesh were considered under Article 72 of the Constitution and their death sentences were commuted into imprisonment for life, Home Minister P Chidambaram told his monthly press conference in New Delhi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yet again floated a sabotage theory in the the derailment of five bogies of the Doon Express in Uttar Pradesh and demanded a probe. 

"Since the accident has taken place during a country-wide bandh we want this to be probed. Who has caused this mishap? It has to be seen whether this is truly an accident or an incident," Banerjee, a former railway minister, told reporters at the state secretariat.
Attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the coal block allocation controversy, BJP leader Uma Bharti has said he should retire from politics.

"The prime minister should not wait till corruption charges levelled against him are proved. He should immediatelyquit public life," Bharti told the media.
An estimated 4,000 tourists are reported to be put up in shelters provided by the army at their bases beyond 15 Mile en route to Tsomgo Lake and Nathula after they were stuck because of bad weather.

Incidentally, Wednesday was also the first day of the weekwhen Nathula is open to tourists as any traffic up to the India-China border remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
18:36   GOOD NEWS: Petrol prices to be slashed by Rs 1.60/lit
Bowing down to the stringent opposition to the Rs 7.50/litre steep hike in the price of petrol, the government has decided to slash prices by Rs 1.60/litre. The reduction will be applicable across the country from Thursday midnight
17:29   NDA has no right to call Bharat bandh: Paswan

Lok Janshakti Party supremo Ram Bilas Paswan today said NDA has no moral right in calling for a countrywide against petrol price hike.


"The NDA has no moral right to call a Bharat bandh. If NDA was so concerned over the issue, it's government in Bihar should have withdrawn tax on petrol. It would have enabled people to buy petrol at Rs 52 per litre," he told reporters in Patna.


Paswan asked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should to "set aside the drama" and withdraw the state tax on petrol.

17:22   Ex-Ktaka DGP Bidari moves SC for reinstatement

Former Karnataka DGP S M Bidari today moved the Supreme Court seeking his reinstatement as state police chief, the appointment for which had been quashed by the Central Administrative Tribunal.


A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, however, recused themselves from hearing the plea and ordered its listing before a different bench.


Bidari approached the apex court challenging Karnataka High Court's order which had held that Bidari's empanelment for the post of state police chief was vitiated as the state government had not placed before the empanelling authority the report of the NHRC's panel on atrocities committed by the Special Task Force, headed by Bidari during the operation to arrest elusive forest brigand Veerappan.

16:56   Patna's Super 30 students exempted from bandh
Bandh supporters in Patna today exempted the entrance test of the Super-30 allowing the famed study centre to scan its possible entrants. "I am thankful that the bandh supporters did not create any trouble at the entrance test centre which shows their sensitivity," said Anand Kumar founder of the institute which provides free coaching to poor students for IIT-JEE.
16:55   Kevin Pietersen quits international one-day cricket
England's dashing batsman Kevin Pietersen has announced his retirement from all international limited-overs cricket with immediate effect. Read
16:30   Bhupathi, Bopanna out of French Open
Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna lose round 1 at the French Open.
16:26   Doon Express driver: Saw obstruction and braked
Just in: The driver of the Doon Express which derailed this afternoon says he saw an obstruction (not specified) and braked, which caused the bogies to derail and turn turtle.

England batsman Kevin Pietersen announces retirement from all forms of international limited overs cricket.

Full report in a bit

The Union Cabinet today approved the National Telecom Policy - 2012. Here's what it says. Read
16:14   WB CM Mamata order probe into Doon train accident
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee shows who's the boss by speaking to TV channels that she has ordered a probe into the Doon Express accident. Unprecedented for a chief minister to comment on an accident outside her state on a portfolio she no longer handles.
16:09   Mukul Roy: Steps to prevent accidents in a month

Railway minister Mukul Roy also says he's on his way to the accident site near Jaunpur. He promised jobs for the families of the deceased and remarked that "Precius (sic) life has been lost and serious steps to prevent accidents will be taken within a month."

He ended the interview to TV channels saying: Death cannot be compromised with anybody else. 

Whatever that means.

16:01   Doon Express sops: Rs 5 lakh for dead, jobs for kin
Railway minister Mukul Roy announces compensation for the victims of the Doon Express derailment -- Rs 5 lakh for the dead, Rs 1 lakh for the grievously injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor accidents and jobs for the kin of the dead. Toll right now stands at five dead, 50 injured (extent of injuries have not been specified).
15:56   Iran remains India's important source of oil: Krishna

In the backdrop of US pressure to reduce oil imports from Iran, India today said unilateral sanctions should not impact upon its "legitimate trade interests" with Iran. 


After talks with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna made it clear that Iran remained India's important source for oil given the growing domestic demand for crude. Asked about the US sanctions on Iran and its affect on trade, Krishna said India has always abided by the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Iran issue. 


"As far as other sanctions, those decided unilaterally or regionally, we are aware of such measures. In a globalised world, these actions can have an impact on the markets," he said.


"Our commercial entities take these into account. Such measures should not impact on legitimate trade interests," Krishna said. Salehi underlined that Iran has been a reliable partner for India on matters of energy security and will  continue to be so. He also urged India to look at energy resources that were

15:41   Mamata wants 'explanation' of Doon Express derailment

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee plays it right, demands an explanation into the Doon Express accident. Remember, she made Mukul Roy the rail minister by dethroning Dinesh Trivedi after he presented a budget that didn't get her nod.

At the KKR carnival in Kolkata on Tuesday, Roy was at her side during the felicitation ceremony.

15:35   Odisha CM returns from London after C word rumours

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who returned here today from London, said he will look into "certain developments" when he reaches Bhubaneswar,
in an apparent reference to a meeting of MLAs with powerful BJD MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra fuelling rumours of cracks within the party. 


"I understand that in my absence, certain events took place...I will look into them when I reach Bhubaneswar," Patnaik said. Shortly after reaching here, he held deliberations with party MPs Baijayant Panda and Pinaki Mishra and said he would also consult his party members after reaching Bhubaneswar this


"There is absolutely no threat to Naveen Patnaik from me. He is completely safe as chief minister as he is the leader of the BJD," Mohapatra had said. At least 21 BJD legislators, including three ministers, had met at the residence of Mohapatra with some leaders terming the exercise as "pressure tactics" by one group close to the Rajya Sabha member at a time when Patnaik was away.

Doon Express derailment: Railway operations are saying rescue and relief operations are still on. The bogeys that have not been affected will soon be on their way to Dehradun. Four dead, 11 injured so far.
15:09   Rail minister's 2nd accident, yet to reach spot
Doon Express derailment: Railway minister Mukul Roy will leave for the accident spot in a bit.
14:59   China detains hundreds in Tibet capital after immolations
In other news: Hundreds of people have been detained in Lhasa after two men set themselves on fire in the Tibetan regional capital on Sunday in protest against Chinese rule. Radio Free Asia said Chinese security forces had rounded up hundreds of residents and pilgrims in the wake of the immolations, the first significant protest in the heavily guarded city since deadly anti-government riots in 2008. It quoted a local source as saying about 600 Tibetans had been detained and those from outside the Tibet Autonomous Region had been expelled.
14:51   Aarushi murder: No bail, Nupur Talwar's jail stay continues
In other news: The Allahabad High Court has rejected the bail plea of Nupur Talwar, who is in Dasna jail since April 30. Nupur and her husband Rajesh (out on bail), both dentists, are accused in the murder of their daughter Aarushi and servant Hemraj. The CBI argued that she had failed to appear in court repeatedly when she was free.
14:39   Doon Express derails: 'No passengers stuck inside'

The Jaunpur District magistrate puts the figures as three dead and 11 injured. He says no passengers are stuck inside the bogies that have derailed and capsized. Helpline numbers: 033-26413660 2640224/3/2

Railway minister Mukul Roy (this is the second accident on his beat) says the "situation is being closely monitored."


Conflicting reports: A Press Trust of India report, quoting police sources, says that five people have been killed and 50 injured in the Howrah-Dehradun Doon Express derailment.

14:22   Doon Express derails: 3 dead, rescue ops have begun

Mewaram, an eyewitness, a vendor on the Doon Express tells CNN IBN that medical teams have reached the spot. Railways coach number S9 and two general bogies have derailed, while S6, S7, S8 and SE (extra coach) have turned turtle.

The district magistrate says the accident occured at 12:30 pm.  

Sanjay Saxena CPRO, Railways, tells CNN IBN that rescue operations have begun. Injured are being taken to hospital. Three dead, he confirms.

14:13   Derailed bogies at the rear of the train
ADG Railways says 11 people have been injured. The four bogies which have capsized are to the rear of the train and are believed to be general bogies. Rescue teams from Allahabad and Varanasi are on their way to the spot.

If you've just joined us, the 18-coach 13009  Howrah-Dehradun Doon Express Coaches 11, 12, 13, 14 have capsized say railway officials, while 15 and 16 derailed. The train leaves Howrah at 8.35 pm and reaches Dehradun at 7.10 am. Given that it is still summer vacation, seats would be completely booked.

It is still not know whether the coaches are general or AC. District officials are at the spot. Casualties veer between three and four.

14:00   Doon Express: 6 bogies derail, 4 dead so far

Fresh reports say six coaches and not five, have derailed. The accident happened 35 km from Jaunpur which is the district headquarters. Of the six which have derailed, four bogies have capsized, say early reports.

The accident relief team is yet to reach the spot.

Early reports say three people have died. Local police say the train was moving at a very high speed.  

The train was on its way from Howrah to Dehradun and not the other way round. The accident occured at 1:15 pm. A medical team has been sent to the site.
13:50   5 bogies of Kolkata-bound Doon Express derail
An accident-relief train has already left for Varanasi. Eyewitness say four coaches turned turtle, while one coach is still upright. The incident took place at Koradia village which is 20 km from Jaunpur. Cause of the accident is not know yet. The accident happened around 45 minutes ago.
13:46   5 bogies of Kolkata-bound Doon Express derails

Just in: Five coaches of the Doon Express has derailed at Jaunpur in UP. The train was plying between Dehradun and Howrah. Early reports say some people were injured. Details awaited.

13:44   Gadkari mum on Sanjay Joshi leading Delhi bandh

BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the Bharat bandh was the common man's reaction to wrong economic policies and corrupt governance of the Congress Party.

Gadkari refused to comment on the party's Sanjay Joshi, who is steering the protest against last week's hike in petrol prices near the Akshardham Temple in New Delhi. Joshi has been asked to lead the procession and demonstration.

Joshi, considered to be close to Gadkari, had earlier resigned from the party's National Executive. A strong critic of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, he had earlier this month sent a letter to Gadkari and said that he is relinquishing his post in the larger interest of the party.

13:39   The bandh in UP

The bandh called by NDA, Left and Samajwadi Party to protest the petrol price hike by the Centre today evoked a good response in initial hours in Uttar Pradesh with business establishments remaining closed in most parts of the state.

BJP workers rode a bullock-cart in front of the party office to mark their protest against the petrol price hike. The SP workers raising  slogans against the UPA government took out a rally and urged traders not to open shops to make
the bandh successful.

13:31   Advani times his 'disappointed with party' blog with bandh

BJP leader L K Advani today admitted that people were "disappointed" with the party and appeared to be hitting out at party chief Nitin Gadkari as he
said the campaign against corruption had been hurt due to induction of an ousted BSP leader facing graft charges. He said the BJP had not risen to the occasion at a time when there was anger against the UPA government over various scams.


"If people are today angry with the UPA government, they are also disappointed with us.  The situation ...calls for introspection," the BJP veteran wrote in his blog, the first on organisational affairs after the party's National Executive where the differences between leaders was in focus. "... when these days media-persons attack the UPA government for its string of scams, but at the same time regret that the BJP led NDA is not rising to the occasion, I as a former pressman myself, feel they are reflecting public opinion correctly," he said. 


Observing that the mood within the party "these days is not upbeat", he said,  "The results in Uttar Pradesh (assembly polls), the manner in which the party welcomed BSP Ministers who were removed by Mayawati ji on charges of corruption, the partys handling of Jharkhand and Karnataka all these events have undermined the partys campaign against corruption." 

13:23   New telecom policy cleared: Free roaming likely

The Cabinet today approved a new telecom policy that proposes to abolish roaming charges on mobile phones and allow users to retain the same number across the country. The Cabinet approved the National Telecom Policy (NTP)2012, a senior minister told reporters after the meeting of the Cabinet.


The NTP 2012 aims to provide free roaming to telecom users and allow them to retain the mobile number even outside their circles without having to pay any extra charge. At present, users have to pay extra when they receive or make a call in a circle outside their home network, called roaming charges.

13:06   Is this Shah Rukh Khan's most angry interview yet?

"I don't want to name people here but when these so called pallbearers of society give lectures and talk about how one should conduct himself or herself, it's irritating. I want to tell that person "You stupid red-wine drinking, uncool, good for nothing socialite... what right do you have to glorify yourself in tabloids or on TV like that? What life have you seen? How dare you go on some television channel and call me an overgrown schoolboy? What life have you lived?"


Shah Rukh Khan in an interview to the TOI. Read

13:02   In Delhi: Metros packed; in Mumbai: empty trains
In Delhi, where the effect of the bandh is far worse than in other cities, the metro was the only option available to commuters, as DTC buses, taxis and autorickshaws stayed off the road. At the Rajiv Chowk Metro station, reports of a near-stampede like situation. In Mumbai, however, near-empty trains as people choose to stay home fearing the Shiv Sena supported bandh would disrupt local train services.  
12:52   Microsoft's Bill Gates meets Jairam Ramesh in Delhi

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is on a brief visit to India, met Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh here. Ramesh has invited Gates to launch partnerships for developing inexpensive sanitation solutions in the country.


Reportedly, Ramesh also asked for support in creating behavioural change and communication pilot models like the pulse polio campaign for toilet use in India. Earlier, Gates met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and discussed the state of healthcare programmes in the state, which his charitable foundation intends to sponsor.


Gates met Yadav at his official residence in Lucknow along with members of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable organisation that he runs along with his wife.

12:42   L K Advani in his blog
The mood within the party these days is not upbeat. The results in Uttar Pradesh, the manner in which the party welcomed BSP Ministers who were removed by Mayawatiji on charges of corruption, the party's handling of Jharkhand and Karnataka - all these events have undermined the party's campaign against corruption.
12:37   Update on the Bharat bandh

Goa remained completely shut except for few buses of state-owned Kadamba Transport Corporation plying on roads along with emergency services, in response to NDA's bandh call against the petrol price hike. Several tourists were seen stranded in the coastal belt as tourist taxis, private buses and even autorickshaws were off roads fearing attack by protestors.


In Arunachal Pradesh: All business establishments, educational institutions,
central government offices and banking institutions remained closed while attendances in state government offices remained thin, official sources said.
 Streets of Itanagar wore a deserted look with all sorts of commercial, public and private vehicles remaining off the road.

12:33   Advani talks tough

Advani said the mood within the party is not upbeat and the BJP-led NDA has not risen to the occasion. The handling of elections in Jharkhand and Karnataka has undermined the BJP's campaign against graft. The induction of corrupt ministers has hurt the party and it is now time to introspect.  

12:30   Advani pulls up party: People disappointed with NDA
BJP senior leader LK Advani pulls u the party saying it is time to introspect. He says the people are disappointed with the NDA, even though they may be angry with the UPA.  
12:29   Gen Bikram Singh takes over as army chief
Gen Bikram Singh, a veteran infantry officer, today took over as the 25th Chief of the Indian Army succeeding Gen V K Singh whose 26-month tenure was
mired in controversies. 59-year-old Gen Bikram Singh will have a tenure of two
years and three months in the top post. Prior to his appointment as Army Chief, Gen Bikram was commanding the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Command.
He has held several important appointments in counter insurgency areas as the Corps Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps and Akhnoor-based 10 Division as Major General.
11:59   Mens workplaces `harbour more bacteria than womens`

Another one of those 'studies', where men and money have been squandered.


Offices inhabited by men have significantly more bacteria than women''s, according to a new study. The team, led by Scott Kelley of University of California, San Diego, identified more than 500 bacterial genera in offices in the three cities, the most abundant of which tended to come from human skin or the nasal, oral, or intestinal cavities.


"Humans are spending an increasing amount of time indoors, yet we know little about the diversity of bacteria and viruses where we live, work and play,' said Dr Kelley.


"This study provides detailed baseline information about the rich bacterial communities in typical office settings and insight into the sources of these organisms,' he said.


The researchers also found that chairs and phones had a high abundance of bacteria, while the abundance on the desktop, keyboard, and mouse were somewhat lower.

11:50   Left wants complete rollback (Rs 7.50 hike) of petrol prices
CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat (Prakash Karat's wife) says the party wants a complete rollback of the hike of Rs 7.50 on petrol prices. She says the hike is unprecedented and unwarranted.
11:47   Left leaders Yechury, Karat, Raja detained in Delhi

Just in: Left leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, AB Bardhan and B Raja have been detained in Delhi today over protests on the fuel price hike. They have detained at the Daryaganj police station.   

11:45   Heard of Bikki and Bubbles?

That's Gen Bikram Singh, who takes over as army chief today -- a lover-boy of a general and an articulate poetry-spouting soldier, is the first officer who has risen to the top post after joining service following India's last war. Bikram Singh or Bikki and wife Bubbles (Surjeet Kaur) openly acknowledge their love story.

Read more on the Telegraph, Calcuta.

11:42   Sensex tumbles 193 pts on heavy selling

The BSE benchmark Sensex tumbled by 193 points to 16,119.55 at 1100 hrs due to persistent selling pressure mainly from auto, refinery, banking, consumer
durables and IT sectors, triggered by fall in rupee value against the dollar.
The rupee fell to a record low in opening trade which was also another factor behind fall in share values. 


The BSE benchmark Sensex resumed lower at 16,224.86 and dropped further to a low of 16,115.63 before quoting at 16,119.55 at 1100 hrs, showing a net loss of 192.60 points or 1.18 per cent from its last close. The NSE 50-share Nifty also declined by 53.95 points, or 1.09 per cent, to 4,896.80 at 1100 hrs.

11:28   Empty roads, trains as Mumbai takes a holiday's Vrushali Lad on the bandh in Mumbai.


BEST buses are plying normally, autorickshaws in certain parts of the city, such as Andheri, Goregaon and Kandivli are off the roads.


Incidents of stone-pelting on BEST buses at a few spots in Mumbai. Three BEST buses were pelted with stones and their windshields damaged at Worli, by suspected RPI activists. At other places, tyres of BEST buses were deflated. All over Maharashtra, about 22 state transport buses have been pelted with stones.


Offices and restaurants in south Mumbai will remain shut till 4 pm today. Madhulika Dash, a freelance writer and Colaba resident who heads out every morning for breakfast said, "The restaurant I go to every morning is closed. The owner told me that they will open only after 4 pm today." Offices in the Fort area of Mumbai, the commercial district of the city, were closed.


The city is quieter today, especially in usually crowded places like Dadar station with taxi stands also empty. At Borivli station, the absence of autorickshaws has opened up the roads for commuters to walk without having to brave traffic snarls.


A shopkeeper in the Kandivli suburb said on condition of anonymity, "My son opened our grocery shop at 9 am time today, but within minutes, two men came and quietly told him to down shutters. We closed the shop because we don't want any trouble."


Police bandobast is heavy in areas where there are railway stations, bus depots, taxi stands, and in places where Shiv Sena and BJP activists staged 'rasta rokos. Attendance is low in several places. Banks and petrol pumps are working normally, but the city's famed dabbawallahs are taking the day off.

11:20   Gen VK Singh takes his last salute as army chief

General V K Singh, who took over the reins of the Indian Army 26 months ago with the image of an anti-corruption crusader, retired as the army chief on Thursday, bringing to an end a controversial tenure that was marred by rows over his age and fissures among the military brass.


General Singh, who gave his last salute at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in New Delhi on Thursday morning after 42 years of service, will be succeeded by Eastern Army Commander General Bikram Singh.General Bikram Singh will have a tenure of two years and three months. Singh, who took over as the army chief on March 31, 2010, will leave behind a legacy of controversies starting from a row regarding his age. Opinions were divided on his tenure among former top officials of armed forces, with some hailing him and others criticising him.

More on

11:17   Naqvi, Joshi, Kohli arrested and released in Delhi

The Delhi police also made a token arrest of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, senior BJP vice president, Sanjay Joshi, general secretary, and O P Kohli, former chief of Delhi BJP, but were let off immediately after.

BJP workers had blocked the Delhi Gaziabad NOIDA route at Akshardham temple.

11:14   Sharad Yadav, Shahnawaz Hussain detained for enforcing bandh

NDA Convener and JD-U national president Sharad Yadav and BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain were among 800 activists taken into custody while enforcing the NDA sponsored "Bharat bandh" in Bihar to protest the petrol price hike. Yadav along with 700 odd supporters took out processions in Saharsa town to enforce the call.


Yadav along with NDA supporters were soon taken into custody in Sahars sadar police station, sources said. Hussain, the BJP National Spokesman, and others were detained in Bhagalpur town while trying to enforce the bandh, they said.


Yadav demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign immediately for "failure" of his government to control the spiralling prices of petroleum products and essential commodities. Yadav claimed the bandh was total.

11:09   Gen VK Singh takes his last salute as army chief
General VK Singh takes his final salute as army chief at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in Delhi. He hands over the reigns to Lt Gen Bikram Singh. He lays the wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti and then goes to the South Block where will be given a guard of honour.
BJP's Nitin Gadkari urges people to observe the bandh peacefully.
10:44   London, France's sixth biggest city!

More French people live in London than in Bordeaux, Nantes or Strasbourg and it is now thought to be France's sixth biggest city in terms of population. What is attracting a new generation of young French professionals to the city?


10:42   Arranged marriage is not forced marriage

Worldwide, every three seconds a girl under the age of 18 is married. In India, 90% of these marriages are arranged between families. And with a divorce rate of just above 1% proponents argue arranged marriage is an effective way for young people to find a partner. But what happens when a proposed marriage goes awry?


Read more on

10:39   Tibetan mother burns herself to death in Sichuan

We'll keep you updated on all the news of the bandh as it happens.


Meanwhile, in other news: A Tibetan mother of three has died after setting herself on fire in Sichuan province, two reports say. The woman, in her 30s, set herself on fire outside a monastery in Aba county, Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet said. Aba county has been at the heart of a series of self-immolations involving Tibetans in apparent protest against Chinese rule.  Read

10:27   48,000 cops on the roads in Mumbai, RAF on standby

In Mumbai, Raj Thackeray's MNS has not supported the bandh saying it will not have any effect on fuel prices.

Roads in Dadar, the Shiv Sena stronghold are entirely empty. Two buses were stoned in Andheri despite a 48,000-strong police contingent on the roads. Major police deployment in sensitive areas like Chembur, Dadar, Jogeshwari, Govandi and Byculla.

Three units of the Rapid Action Force on standby. The police are also monitoring the situation on CCTV cameras.

10:17   BEST buses stoned in Mulund, Dadar; trains on track

In Mumbai: BEST buses were pelted with stones in suburban Mulund and Dadar, Worli and Currey Road. 


BJP activists staged noisy protests outside Borivali station, at S V Road in Kandivali and also in suburban Chembur


Local trains and buses were plying as usual in most parts of the city. The Eastern Expressway, the arterial road which connects suburbs to Mumbai saw less traffic than usual as some of the officegoers preferred to stay home in view of the bandh. Taxis and autorickaws were plying normally.


However, leaders of taxi and rickshaw unions have announced that they will take vehicles off the roads in case of any untoward incident.

The dabbawalaas, who supply tiffin to office goers have also taken a day off.
In Pune, protestors damaged 13 Pune Municipal transport buses while stone pelting was reported on 10 buses in Nagpur and one bus in neighbouring Thane district. In Satara, in western Maharashtra, activists stopped some buses by blocking roads as part of the bandh. 


Meanwhile, the Mumbai University has announced that there will no change in its exam schedule for today irrespective of the nationwide bandh.

Home Minister R R Patil said the government will take stringent action against those creating nuisance during the bandh and has also asked police officials to deal sternly with incidents of violence during the bandh.

Oswin Diniz '@teodranik Bandh in Mumbai's western suburb of Vasai -Shiv Sena thugs stopped my rickshaw, slapped the driver, deflated the tires.Trains are on time

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar tells NDTV that people have given their verdict by participating voluntarily in the bandh. He says the bandh is gaining momentum.

CPI's  D Raja says the party has asked all its functionaries to make the bandh a success.

Just in: Buses have been stoned in Andheri, in suburban Mumbai.
09:55   Poriborton in bandh-happy Kolkata
Our correspondent in Kolkata says the bandh has been unsuccessful so far. Trains, buses, trams are plying normally. 
09:51   Controversial Army Chief Gen VK Singh retires today

In other news.

General V K Singh, who took over the reins of the army 26 months ago with an image of an anti-corruption crusader, will retire as Army Chief today bringing to an end a controversial tenure that was marred by rows over his age and fissures among the military brass.

Singh (62), who will hang up his boots after 42 years of service, will be succeeded by Eastern Army Commander General Bikram Singh, who will have a tenure of two years and three months.

General V K Singh, who took over as the Army Chief on March 31, 2010 with an image of honest, firm and upright officer, will leave behind a legacy of controversies starting from a row regarding his age.

Rahul Bose @RahulBose1 Roads normal in south bombay. For once one is happy to see traffic. Good on you, citizens.
09:39   Rupee hits new record low of 56.50 against dollar

In other news: The rupee today tumbled by 26 paise to trade at a new all-time low of Rs 56.50 against the US dollar in early trade on increased capital outflows and strong demand from importers for the American currency. 


Traders said apart from capital outflows by foreign funds, strengthening of dollar against the euro, which plunged to a two-year low on continued euro-zone worries and strong month-end demand from importers, particularly oil refiners, mainly put pressure on the rupee. Yesterday, the rupee had lost 57 paise to close at record low of 56.24 despite RBI's efforts to prop it up.

09:35   Empty trains, buses as Mumbaikars stay home

Shops are shut across Mumbai, but with 48,000 police on the roads, there have been no reports of any untoward incidents so far. There have been preventive detentions last night. Local trains, buses are plying, but have been going relatively empty with most people opting to stay home.

09:31   Mumbai: Fewer autos, taxis; trains normal

The BJP has demanded a rollback in petrol prices by this evening. In Mumbai, at this hour, train services are running as usual, as is BEST. In fact, BEST has promised additional services if required.

Fewer autorickshaws on the roads since the Sena-led unions are probably enforcing the strike. Early hours yet, more on this when we get it.

The bigger unions led by Sharad Rao and A L Quadros said their autos and taxis will ply.

Yesterday, Maharashtra home minister R R Patil held a marathon meeting with top police officials to chart out the strategy for the bandh today.

09:06   In Mumbai dabbawalas join bandh

In Mumbai, most shops have not opened at this hour. In fact, the famous dabbawalas of the city have joined the strike.

The Delhi-Howrah rail route has been blocked near Delhi.

UP (Varanasi and Allahabad), Bihar and Delhi seem to be the worst affected right now.

In Delhi, DTC buses have stopped plying on most routes. Tyres have deflated in some buses. 

In Kolkata which is used to decades of bandhs thanks to Mamata Banerjee when she was in the Opposition, long-distance trains have been affected and local trains along the Sealdah route have been stopped.  

09:00   Delhi: 55,000 autos off the roads

In Nagpur: Five buses have been pelted with stones.

The BJP blocks the Akshardham road in Delhi. At least 55,000 autos are off the roads.

In Mumbai: Train services are unaffected at this hour, but very few auto rickshaws, taxis or buses on the roads. The Shiv Sena-BJP had promised that no autos, taxis, buses would ply the roads today. Read

Also see on Right and Left unite for Bharat Bandh today

08:52   Bharat bandh begins: Public transport affected

The Opposition led by the BJP and the Left parties is observing a nationwide bandh today in protest against the recent hike in petrol price - the steepest ever in recent times. The unprecedented increase - of nearly Rs. 7.50 including taxes - met with major political uproar and public anger. 

In Kolkata: Trains along the Sealdah route have been blocked. The East-West bypass is blocked.

In Karnataka: Protestors damage 11 buses in Bangalore. Bus services have been stopped.

In Delhi: Autorickshaws stay off the road.

In UP: Samajwadi Party workers block roads

In Pune: 13 ST buses have been damaged.

In Patna: JD(U) workers stage a rail roko.

In Mumbai: Heavy deployment of police across the city.


BJP workers have 'promised' to block traffic and stage demonstrations at several places. This is expected to result in major traffic jams in the Delhi. 

An estimated 4,000 tourists are reported to be put up in shelters provided by the army at their bases beyond 15 Mile en route to Tsomgo Lake and Nathula after they were stuck because of bad weather.

Incidentally, Wednesday was also the first day of the weekwhen Nathula is open to tourists as any traffic up to the India-China border remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.